In recent articles I have explained the importance of goal setting and planning. Of crucial importance is you WRITE DOWN the goals as explained in the article: Why Goals are VITAL To Your Success
It took me 20 years to actually get round to doing this but the results were incredible, in terms of what I was able to achieve in a relatively short period of time. The other major benefit was that I actually felt that I was in control of my life rather than simply reacting to events. The clarity that gave me was worth the time creating my plan, the extra money and success were an added bonus.
Not long after my 40th birthday a good friend of mine, Bob, who was only a couple of years older than me, dropped dead from a heart attack. This caused me to look extremely closely at my own life. I was working 70 hours a week and stressed up to the eyeballs. I was permanently tired and often in a bad mood with the few hours I spent with my young kids.
I hated the English weather and the politics. I was earning a serious amount of money and had the big house and the cars, but other parts of my life stank. So, following Richard Bransons mantra from an earlier post “Screw it, lets do it” – I really disliked the business so much that despite the great income I sold it.
My wife and I decided to go for the dream we had of living in the Canary Islands. That was our big, overall goal. The next step was to create a plan and milestones along the way. Working backwards from the goal…..
- I needed to sell the Company. This needed a mini plan in itself.
- Make sure that it was as lean and profitable as possible.
- Make sure the buildings, of which there were many, were all in good, well maintained order.
- New uniforms for employees especially those working on the shop floor.
- Appoint a business sales agent
- Etc etc
My wife & I had always made money via property and the sale of our main home which we had built ourselves was to be a part of that. We needed to decorate and tidy up, then appoint a sales agent. At the same time we needed to create a substantial income to fund our semi-retirement with 4 young kids.
We then bought 10 houses to rent out. Thanks to Martin, my property mentor, this only cost around $150.000. Martin showed us how to study the market. Where to buy and which areas to avoid. The type of properties for maximum profit. How to negotiate the purchases. How to fund them.
We used tradesmen for the skilled jobs and Sharon and I did all the painting and manual work. This gave us approximately $5000 a month income and a promise from me that I will never, ever, lift another paintbrush for the rest of my life .
We also developed (now sold and invested in gold and silver) a shares portfolio for additional income.
“Goals are dreams with snap, crackle & pop” – Keith Ellis
Most of my friends were convinced I had really lost the plot by this stage!
So the next part of the plan was to take singing and guitar lessons AND practise at least an hour per day.
Finally we all needed to learn the language for our new home. We employed a local Spanish lady who came to our house every week and over the next 18 months we learned enough to make a start in our new Country.
Most of this was ongoing over a 2 year period. We couldn’t do anything until the business was sold and that took 12 months for everything to go through which was the longest year of my life, but at least we were getting on with other parts of the plan.
The next step was we needed to buy a house in our new country. If you are thinking of emigrating my best advice is rent first or do as we did, buy something cheap to start with.
We chose the latter as it meant that we had made a commitment to carry the plan through. This took 3 or 4 visits and even more later on for the nonsensical Spanish legal system. Just over 2 years after the initial decision was made we were on a plane to our new home (the goal) with 1 suitcase each!
We reached the goal by following the plan. Along the way was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding times of my life.
- I was in control of my own destiny.
- I knew where I was going and how I was going to get there.
- I had lots of small victories along the way and was learning new skills.
- I learned how to become a successful property investor and some of the houses we bought were such good deals we could have spun them the next day and made a big profit.
Our goal was reached by following the plan.
- We had sold the business, house and cars.
- We retained a parcel of land that will get planning permission for houses or commercial use.
- We had created an income stream from the houses
- The shares portfolio had created an income.
- For additional income I retained an interest in the business.
- I was now singing and playing guitar like an old pro! (I got bored after a few years BUT hey I lived my dream).
- We had bought our new home.
- We had completed all the paperwork to become Spanish residents.
- We formed a Spanish Company.
- We could all speak enough Spanish to get started
- We had the kids placed in school
Lesson Learned? Live The Dream, but make sure that you plan it first.
Author: Marc Walton